Massachusetts Pilot Program To Offer Subsidized Health Insurance Plans to Undocumented Immigrants
Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner John Auerbach on Wednesday announced a new pilot program set to begin this summer that will offer subsidized health insurance to undocumented immigrants, MetroWest Daily News reports. According to Auerbach, the state law requiring all residents to obtain health insurance has left some residents -- many of whom are undocumented immigrants -- to rely on the state's safety net pool to cover their medical costs.
This summer, the health department will recruit 50 residents who frequently use the safety net pool and then monitor participants' health, noting any health improvements and cost savings. "We want to make sure we get results," Auerbach said.
Auerbach announced the pilot program at an annual event that seeks to discuss the department's initiatives and data on community health in the MetroWest region. According to the Daily News, the region has lower diabetes rates among blacks, Asian-Americans, Hispanics and whites, compared with the state average for each group. However, the region "reflects the same health differences between the groups," with blacks having the highest rate of diabetes, followed by Hispanics, whites and Asian-Americans, according to the Daily News. The department has awarded $1 million in community grants to address such disparities.
Edna Smith of the Greater Framingham Community Church said minorities often do not have access to health care and often receive inadequate care when they are seen by health providers. She recommended more culturally competent health care, saying, "There's a huge need out there, but you need to know how to approach the communities" (Morton, MetroWest Daily News, 5/29).